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Hallmark enriches greeting cards via mobile bar codes

Greeting card and party supply company Hallmark is targeting children with a line of mobile bar code-enabled Halloween cards.

According to Hallmark, mobile extends the life of the company?s cards as well as entertains children. Most recently, the company developed a line of mobile applications for the iPhone and iPad and has plans to launch an Android app.

?We have leveraged mobile through the use of QR codes as a way to provide an entertaining experience and extend the life of a card,? said Monic Houpe, product manager at Hallmark, Kansas City, MO.

?The QR code gives us the ability to surprise consumers by unveiling a bonus video clip," she said.

Spooky surprise
The line of Hallmark Halloween cards are available at Walmart retail locations.

Mobile bar codes are used on children?s cards that involve recognizable characters, including Disney?s Cars, Warner Brothers? Scooby Doo and Marvel?s Super Hero Squad.

An example of a Cars-themed greeting card

Consumers can scan a QR code on the cards and are taken taken to a short video that animates the specific character.

By using a call to action on the card, Hallmark is able to leverage content to children, which typically have a short-attention span with greeting cards.

Consumers who do not have a mobile device can also access the videos with a Web URL address.

Slow adoption
Despite Hallmark?s opportunity to tap into its paper-based inventory with mobile efforts, the retailer has been fairly slow to adopt.

?Today we have a mobile app on the iPhone and iPad to help our loyal consumers find out about then new products in our stores,? said Paul Barker, vice president and general manager of Hallmark Digital, Kansas City, MO.

This app also has a store locator function and lets users access their Crown Rewards points. 

An Android version is coming out soon.

In addition to the new line of Halloween cards, Hallmark plans to roll out similar initiatives for a holiday-themed line of cards.

The company also has a line of storybooks apps.

QR codes are a popular mobile trend that companies can use to up their print content.

For example, a recent study from Mobio Identity Systems found that mobile bar code scanning increased by 4,549 percent over the course of a year (see story).

Additionally, restaurant chain Hooters combined social media with QR codes to beef up brand awareness (see story).

?Our marketing group is developing mobile marketing messages and advertising for our products,? Mr. Barker said.

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York